Many of us are unable to function without a kickstart from our morning cup of coffee. Unfortunately, coffee can get you “up and running” in more ways than one! Yes, coffee has a mild to moderate laxative effect which is why you feel the need to poop immediately after drinking coffee. Most people are so addicted to coffee, that they are willing to deal with this unpleasant effect and some of them even work it into their morning routine.
According to researchers, the laxative effect only occurs in only 3 out of every 10 people. So for all the times when you’ve wondered “why does coffee make me poop”, here’s the simple science behind it.
The Reason For Coffee’s Laxative Effects
Researchers earlier believed that it was the caffeine in coffee that made people run to the restroom. However, this was ruled out when they found that people who drank decaffeinated coffee also experienced the same laxative effect. Furthermore, people who drank energy drinks with much higher levels of caffeine did not feel the need to use the loo after they consumed these drinks.
In order to find out the reason for coffee’s laxative effects, some researchers conducted a study on the effects of coffee and found that coffee induces a “gastrocolonic response” in some individuals. What this means is that the reason coffee makes some people feel like pooping is because the compounds in coffee increases the contraction and relaxation of the muscle walls of the intestines and this propels intestinal contents along the digestive tract. Of course coffee is not the only culprit for digestive disorders, but it is one of the most common causes of digestive problems.
What Happens When You Drink Coffee?
When you drink coffee, it causes your stomach to secrete a higher amount of gastric acid. Coffee also contains a natural chemical compound called chlorogenic acid. The combination of the two acids drastically increases the acidity levels in the stomach and this causes the stomach to move its contents into the intestines so that it can be quickly eliminated from the body.
There are over 1000 compounds in coffee so scientists are still not sure which compound or compounds cause coffee’s laxative effects. What scientists are able to tell us though are that there are several factors that come into play. In addition to increasing the acidity levels in the stomach, coffee also increases the amount of gastrin released by your body.
Since gastrin is a hormone that is produced by the stomach lining to stimulate the intestines to move food through the digestive tract. Elevated levels of gastrin means that food moves that much faster through the digestive tract. Within just 4 minutes of drinking your cup of coffee, your intestinal contractions increase to a point where you feel the need to make a quick dash to the nearest loo!
Scientists are still working on finding out the exact compounds that in coffee that make us want to poop but until they do, all you can do is make sure that the local coffee shop has a working toilet before you order that cappuccino!
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